What is Defensive Driving, Techniques Explained

What is defensive driving? Defensive driving definition is advanced over the normal driving practice in that a defensive driver uses key observational skills to anticipate potential hazards and prepares for such circumstances in advance.

Defensive driving also utilises key skills to increase fuel economy, vehicle wear and time. The level of defensive driving varies considerably and can be self-taught to advance one’s own basic driving abilities or can be taken in the form of a professional driving course conducted by trained professionals.

Benefits of defensive driving

Defensive driving is a form of advanced driving and heightens a drivers abilities to predict potential hazards or accidents. As such, the chances of an accident occurring is significantly reduced whether through your own fault or another drivers.

Part of a defensive driving program is to teach a driver stress management. This will involve the planning of journeys in advance to avoid unnecessary stress and to make use of alternative routes if necessary.

Defensive driving

These factors will inevitably keep a drivers licence clean from endorsements such as speeding due to stress. Lower car insurance premiums will of course be expected due to a full no claims bonus.

If you feel that your driving is not as safe as it could be, that you have fears for the safety of others, your passengers and that you are prone to speeding tickets, a short defensive driving course could benefit you not only in terms of safety, but financially long-term.

Defensive driving techniques

Many defensive driving techniques can be self-taught without the need for a dedicated course. Much of what is found on the Driving Test Tips website in the driving test tutorials will be of benefit to all drivers, not just learners. Learner drivers are technically better drivers than most drivers on the road right now simply because they are up to date on safe driving practices. Of course what a learner driver doesn’t have is experience. Unfortunately when most of us pass the driving test, those safe driving practices soon get forgotten. A combination of safe driving practice and experience is something that we should all utilise as obligatory and not thought of as an option. Any improvement on a drivers ability is beneficial whether self-taught or by undertaking a professional driving course.

Self-improvement on your driving doesn’t mean you need to start driving like a learner driver again, simply adopt the safe driving techniques that you were once taught whilst preparing to take the practical driving test. Key area of focus should be:

  • The blind spot – correct use of the blind spot before moving off and changing lanes
  • 2 second rule – to keep safe distance between you and the vehicle in front whilst driving
  • Anticipation and planning – to predict potential hazards in advance and plan ahead
  • Journey preparation – to aid in reducing speeding and stress

The key areas outlined above are the main causes of traffic accidents in the UK. Simple and self-taught techniques covering these key areas found on the Driving Test Tips web site can help you become a safer more confident driver.

Take some driving lessons

If you do not feel confident enough for the self-teaching method, a fully qualified driving instructor is able to provide you with techniques similar to those above that will help you become a safe and confident driver in no time. You will likely only need a few hours to get your driving back in shape. Often eco-driving is part of the teaching program, so the financial outlay on these lessons will easily be saved over a short period of time on fuel expenses.

Defensive driving courses

Defensive driving courses are ideally suited to individuals, commercial drivers or companies with fleet drivers. Commercial driving is one of the most dangerous aspects of a company employee which is where defensive driving courses or fleet driver training comes in.

These courses provide employees with the skills to become safer drivers and as such many insurance companies insist such courses are undertaken. Defensive driving course vary in cost and can be taken from many trained driving establishments. Well known establishments include Rospa and iam. Professional defensive driving courses are designed to heighten a drivers anticipation and planning for potential hazards, high knowledge of road regulations, courtesy to other drivers and eco driving.

Is defensive driving worth it?

Defensive driving whether self-taught or especially if taught by qualified establishments by means of a short course not only provide you with safe driving skills but also increase a drivers ability to eco-drive. The savings made in fuel alone often covers the cost of a course within a year.

RELATED Guides on Safe Driving

  • See Safe driving for techniques for keeping safe on the road
  • Aquaplaning can be dangerous. See our guide on how best to avoid it

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